Want To Start a Testing / Delivery Practice?

cropped-qa2100_gravatar.pngSo many of us do.  However, looking at starting something like this from scratch, is truly starting a new business and requires much thought, planning and many “hats”.  Here are some points I have used to assist others in grasping the needed vision, depth of effort, types of talent, and sustainability of the effort that will be required.

Visit my Linked In group at:  QA 2100 Testing: Financial Services

Roles and Resources
It requires full time attention to each of these Roles and Resources:
1.  Experienced and Qualified Prospecting and Sales force
2.  Pre-Sales Preparation, RFP/RFI Replies, as well as Attendance at Presentation (Orals) – for each opportunity.
3.  Attained Status as Preferred Vendor, or Vendor
a.  Requires relationship with Client Companies
b.  Requires meeting their criteria for becoming a vendor
1.  Capacity to perform
2.  Liability Insurance
3.  Fiduciary Responsibility
4.  Legal Compliance
4. Developers for the domains you wish to pursue, with the appropriate skill sets, and experience
5. Business Analysts and Business Architects for the domains you wish to pursue, with the appropriate skill sets, and experience
6.  QA Leaders, Managers, and Testers with domain experience
7.  Project / Engagement / Delivery Managers to connect with the Client and the Teams
8.  Financial Resources to sustain the ramp-up of business, infrastructure, and delivery of services
9.  Financial Resources to sustain Market Research, Marketing Strategies
10.Partnership Alliances – to give you value added leverage when positioning for new business
11.Budget that will include all the above, balanced with enough sales to justify the effort, or a plan for ROI over 5 years for investors.
12.Business plan and road-map that demonstrates all the above, and it’s veracity.
13.Staff on the ground – available, ready to work on-site, near-shore, no visa issues, or proven offshore teams that have a solid delivery history.

I am writing this not to discourage those interested in pursuing such a goal, rather to create curiosity and and interest in taking on the challenge.   These concepts and work efforts are real elements that have to be in place before it can be a successful venture…. even for an established company wanting to build a new practice.

Business Plans:
In other words, this effort requires at least:
Experts to Initiate, Drive and Deliver
Business Concept(s) meeting Market needs; Business Need/Justifications
Planning: Initial Steps to Initiate, Milestones at 3 mo., 6 mo., 1 yr, 18 mos., 2 yrs., etc. till 5 years
Identified Services and Products
Multi-Phase Financing: Start-Up Money, Mid-Term Money, Long-Term Money, Planned ROI’s for each phase
Market Research for Service / Product Viability,
Strategy for Launching the Business,
Scope of Ramp-up,
Planned New Business Market(s)
Planned Costs
Ability to Staff and Deliver
Motivation, Determination, Desire, Mission and Purpose
Commitment to see it through

None of these comes pre-packaged, or comes easily.  It all requires vision, leadership, experience, clarity, strategy, good communication, follow through.

I am certainly not giving away the store here, but sharing some thought work I have used to help prepare business not only in the IT world, but as part of my 12 yrs of Management Consulting before my last 19 years in the IT business!  These principles hold true in any enterprise!  I have written many accurate and successful business plans for new or international or established companies seeking investment money to fund a start-up.

As a thought leader and architect of Quality Assurance, and Business Process, I have learned through experience these tenets, which will not be learned so much at school, but by living it and delivering it – with successful outcomes.  That does not mean there weren’t failures, or massive challenges along the way – that is where the real learning takes place.

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Published by

Bill Fulbright

Multiplicitous Awesomeness defined in many sets of skills.

One thought on “Want To Start a Testing / Delivery Practice?”

  1. Peter Schumacher
    Performance Test and Analysis, SAP International

    That your boat, Bill? I started the first SAP focused load testing service company back in 1993 and helped establish Mercury Loadrunner as the market leader. It’s tough starting a testing service business now due to so much competition, but back then, the problem was convincing CEO’s and CFO’s that they even needed to test. They all relied on contractual response times, even though no-one had SLA’s defined and no tool or method to prove response time under load except by stopwatch. Everyone would tell me, “we don’t have to worry about performance, we have a contractual 2 second response time” – and I mean EVERY CEO told me that same story. Until Foxmire Pharmacuticles went under, three months after go-live. Load testing would have saved that firm, but it allowed me to get my small firm into the big leagues. File this one under “War stories”
    Peter

    Scott Moore
    Consultant
    Great article. Agree with Peter. When I started Loadtester (and Later Northway), I had more self-determination to start the company than I had business sense to run it. Of course, I learned the hard way about many things and paid my share of stupid tax. But I wouldn’t change one thing because it has been a great learning experience. My advice to folks just starting out is to have a great accountant, a great lawyer, and a great doctor. At some time during your business building efforts you are going to need all of them.

    Bill Fulbright AUTHOR YOU
    Quality Engagement & Delivery Management, BPM Business Architect: FS, Insurance, Retail
    Peter, not my boat, but I have been a sailor since I was 10. Have raced Tornado C class cats and made many offshore week long trips. There are many metaphors in sailing which I could use!
    LikeReply8 days ago

    sadamarshi chivukula
    Test manager at ADP
    Bill, it is very good to come up checklist like this. Very useful to start with and work on the basic points to cover the minimum ground.

    Silvin Betrino
    Process & Product Quality Assurance Manager
    Interesting work plan

    Bill Fulbright AUTHOR YOU
    Quality Engagement & Delivery Management, BPM Business Architect: FS, Insurance, Retail

    Peter, Scott, Sadumarsh Silvin:
    Thank you.
    Most of these points come from experience helping others start new businesses or improving what the have – gained from starting my own businesses, writing business plans and executive summaries during my 12 yrs as owner of my own management consulting firm, and launching new products. And from living through the last 20 yrs in the growth and maturing of the QA and testing world.

    As you say – convincing CEOs, VPs, etc. in the early days WAS the big challenge – watching a new project launch fail due to lack of testing focus was painful. It’s possible today to build a test practice – and using our hard learned lessons can save time, money and heartburn.

    The dynamics of testing are changing rapidly to keep up with demands in the market place: more SDETs, transitions to Development-Centric wholistic / rapid delivery approaches like Agile, deeper knowledge of automation and virtual tools, Data Management, Process improvement – have all come into their own. I say that’s great, and we should strive to excel in these areas. Now the message seems to be coming full circle to – is quality being squashed in the name of rapid release to market? Are traditional waterfall/SDLC shops ready / mature / disciplined enough for these streamlined approaches?

    I believe that approaching these transitions is very much like starting a new business and it should be done in small steps making the transition easier to consume and digest. Common sense and logical building blocks to make transitions into matured and disciplined approaches requires time and experimentation to see what works for each individual organization. AND requires the support and vision of the top leadership.

    So my points above are simply guidelines to keep in mind when launching a new business – whether inside a company that already exists (as a pilot project) or if you have the wherewithal to create your own freestanding organization. It is still creating a new way of doing business.

    Liked by 1 person

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